Healthcare, Employer, Insurance, Self-pay, Coverage, Freedom
Beside others, major issues with current employer based health insurance is that it takes away choices and limits mobility. Lots of employees feel locked in, and cannot quit or change jobs, just because of health insurance benefits. This is good for employers, and many use it for very specific purpose of locking in employees. However, due to this sense of employees being locked in, many employers can circumvent many other workplace related issues. For example, overall workplace environment, pay raises, promotions, other benefits, and proper respect and freedom for employees. In most cases employees just have to swallow everything under the fear, if they lose job, they will lose health insurance, too.
Another common problem caused by employer based health insurance is that sometimes the benefits needed by an employee may not be in line with the beliefs of employer. On the other hand, lack of mobility for employees ultimately becomes a factor for general decline in wages and benefits. Employer based insurance is the product of World War 2. Employers started offering it to circumvent the president Roosevelt’s wage and price controls. Since, under the wage control laws they could not offer higher wages to attract and retain employees in the midst of serious shortage of workers, they would use benefits like healthcare for those purposes. Over time, this became a general trend.
In order to tackle this problem, we need a system in which employees can continue to have health insurance even if they lose, quit or change jobs. Under current circumstances, until the options of self-pay and health co-operatives are not feasible, again, the best way to do this, is to provide tax credits to insured. These will enable many employees to carry insurance to some extent even outside the settings of employment. It will also end the values and needs conflict between employers and employees. Matter of the fact is that the health insurance benefits must be controlled by individual herself, instead of government or private bosses.
Only the insurer – insured relationship should be able to determine the benefits offered and enjoyed. Problems like this are result of unfortunate developments in our society which have seriously undermined the individual liberties, guaranteed in constitution. Like any other coercive society, the other people like government, employers, priests, media, academics and educators and other powerful figures are increasingly making choices for individuals, instead of individuals themselves. A concerted effort from status quo has resulted into our ignorance, negligence and complacency regarding our own rights, especially our right to choose.
We are gradually forgetting and giving up the golden principle that you have a right to live anyway you want, religious or non-religious. But, none of these should be imposed on others. You are free to have or not have sex outside the bond of marriage. You are free to eat, drink and smoke healthy or not. You are free to gamble or not. But, you should not be imposing your choices on others. The ever increasing encroachment, into our society, of socialist ideas like government can and must control all or certain things, or government can do it better than we, ourselves, is in general making us too complacent with regards to our rights.
Healthcare, in our country, is a very good example of gradual takeover of individual rights by government. Starting from everyone paying for his or her own healthcare to community based co-operatives to health insurance corporations to employer based insurance to Obamacare, we gradually kept giving away our right to choose. Like a frog in a container full of water on a burner we did not even realize that we were slowly getting boiled.
Corporate-government alliance stole our rights, again. As long as the healthcare was self-pay or even paid by community co-operatives, the cost was well under control. Simple market principle, if you do not sell your services at affordable prices than soon you are out of business, was working well. When big corporations realized the opportunities in healthcare and started to get involved in healthcare insurance, they faced very tough competition from self-pay and community based co-operatives. So, they designed a two-point strategy. First, they started paying providers higher than they would earn otherwise. This built a natural preference in providers for larger insurance companies. On the other hand the community based co-operatives were working for the benefits of their members.
In addition to this, the co-operatives did not have resources to pay higher prices. So, this corporate strategy did not only raise the cost of healthcare, it also helped knockout self-pay and co-operatives. On the other hand, as usual, big corporations got in bed with government. Together, they designed initiatives and legislations “to guarantee” quality healthcare. These initiatives got recommendations from healthcare experts who incidentally happened to be the healthcare providers having vested interests in manipulating the system. The group totally left out in the process was consumers like you and me.
Legislation and regulations based on the recommendations of healthcare experts, otherwise known as healthcare providers guaranteed higher payments for themselves. As usual, government regulations also guaranteed almost no competition from smaller competitors, in insurance business. Buying insurance across the state lines was made impossible. By all means the competition was kept at the least possible level. These developments while raising the cost even further, made it virtually impossible for self-pay and co-operatives to survive. Insurance companies got a complete control over healthcare payments. After that came World War II. Employers were looking for ways to lock in employees without having to pay higher wages. So, came the employer based health insurance. Now, employer based health insurance became the word of day. Since, this was a cartel between health insurance corporations, healthcare providers and big employers to keep self-pay and co-operatives out of the loop, the cost kept rising.
Now, it was the time for their forth partner in crime to budge in. Since, employer based health insurance was now the major way to acquire healthcare, and it was increasingly failing due to skyrocketing costs, instead of breaking monopolies in healthcare payment systems, the new proposed solution was to make it right by two wrongs. Hence came the new notion. Government must intervene and provide healthcare to everyone.